Our fave ways to spend a day in West Van.
While once known only as the home of B.C.’s first enclosed shopping mall (we’re looking at you, Park Royal), West Vancouver is now a destination for foodies and outdoorsy folks alike. With the ocean and the mountains right next door, and its farmers’ markets, cafés, museums and galleries, this northwestern municipality offers a plethora of activities for every day of the year.
1. Amuse the Bouche
Voted Best North Shore in Vancouver magazine’s 2017 Restaurant Awards, Café Ça Va (1860 Marine Dr.) is led by Michelin-star chef Alain Rayé and serves elegant French cuisine with a certain joie de vivre.
2. Enjoy the View
Nestled at the base of Cypress Mountain, the Salmon House on the Hill (2229 Folkestone Way) is your “special dinner with a killer view” destination. A panorama of glass windows faces the ocean and spans the width of the timber-chic restaurant, so you can sip picks from an award-winning wine list (chosen to pair perfectly with the West Coast fare) over sunsets on Burrard Inlet.
3. Get Wet
Take a break from city life by going on a kayak tour of Ambleside Beach or take an interpretive tour of the North Shore with Talaysay Tours (334 Skawshen Rd.). The tour company focuses on First Nations cultural and eco experiences, and offers other walking and kayak tours around the Burrard Inlet and Deep Cove.
Horseshoe Bay’s Olive and Anchor (6148 Bay St.) was an honourable mention for Best North Shore in Vancouver magazine’s 2017 Restaurant Awards and is well worth the trip. Chef Lisa Kim offers a diverse menu—everything from brioche French toast with mascarpone to Korean bibimbap—to accompany the view in this casual location.
5. Better Than a Gift Shop
Just a 30-minute drive from downtown Vancouver in picturesque Horseshoe Bay lies the Spirit Gallery (6408 Bay St.), which showcases and sells First Nations bentwood boxes, carvings, jewellery and prints by notables such as Musqueam artist Susan Point.
Born in Dundarave, Temper Chocolate and Pastry’s (2409 Marine Dr.) chef Steven Hodge has earned his place among chocolatiers by working with star-status chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Vancouver’s own Thomas Haas. Visit the mod marble-forward shop any day of the week for a chocolate- or pastry-laden pick-me-up.
7. Hit the Market
Every Sunday, the Ambleside Artisan Farmers’ Market (1000 Argyle Ave.) features vendors armed with everything from farm-fresh vegetables to tipples to crafts. After you’ve wandered (or eaten) your way through the market, head to the nearby park and beach at Ambleside to round out a day of relaxation.
Feast Dining (2423 Marine Dr.) is West Vancouver’s self-proclaimed neighbourhood table—and it has the rustic-farmhouse, down-to-earth decor to match. Stop by for brunch, lunch or dinner for time-honoured favourites like chicken and waffles, or treat yourself to happy hour’s $5 drink specials of wine and/or bubbles.
9. Call of the Wild
For a taste of the wilderness right in the city, visit Cypress Falls Park (find a parking lot and trail entrance near 4698 Woodgreen Pl.). The park’s low elevation makes it an excellent snow-free pick for a hike year-round. It’s dog friendly, easy to reach by public transit and features a gentle three-kilometre hike round-trip to get the blood flowing.
10. Go Fish
Take to the water to discover the history and wildlife of Howe Sound with Sewell’s Marina (6409 Bay St.). Whether you explore one of North America’s southernmost fjords by guided sea safari, private boat rental or chartered fishing boat, you’ll spend the day getting to know a new side of Vancouver’s backyard (life jacket required).